Cristiano Biraghi's last-gasp winner kept Italy's chances of reaching the Nations League final four alive as it secured a 1-0 triumph away to Poland on Sunday.
Roberto Mancini's men looked to be heading for a disappointing stalemate due to poor finishing but Biraghi bundled in from close range in stoppage time to set up an intriguing League A Group 3 contest with pacesetters Portugal in November.
Italy were completely dominant in the first half but somehow failed to take the lead, with Jorginho and Lorenzo Insigne both hitting the crossbar.
Poland made a marked improvement in the second period, though Italy remained the controlling force and finally clinched a deserved three points right at the end, moving them to within two points of Portugal.
IT'S ALL OVER #PolandItaly 0-1— Italy (@azzurri) October 14, 2018
What drama!! Italy dominate over in #Chorzow and secure an extremely late win thanks to a goal from #Biraghi at the death. #POLITA #VivoAzzurro #NationsLeague pic.twitter.com/dZoOIXwIGw
It did not take Italy long to establish control and they almost opened the scoring in the second minute, as Jorginho struck the crossbar from 25 yards.
Poland had another lucky escape after half an hour – Insigne prodding Federico Bernardeschi's cross onto the frame of the goal.
Italy's dominance only increased as half-time approached, but the breakthrough eluded them due to the heroics of Wojciech Szczesny, who produced fine saves to deny Jorginho, Alessandro Florenzi and Giorgio Chiellini.
The hosts looked more solid after the break and finally tested Gianluigi Donnarumma just before the hour, with the goalkeeper thwarting Kamil Grosicki from a tight angle.
Shortly after Bernardeschi headed wide from close range, Donnarumma again had to be alert, parrying another Grosicki effort away and then seeing Arkadiusz Milik blast the rebound over.
It was ultimately Italy who took the spoils, however, as Kevin Lasagna flicked on a corner delivery and Biraghi nudged it over the line from close range.
The result sees Poland become the first team relegated to League B.
What it means: Promising signs for Mancini
Italy's wastefulness in front of goal is something that can certainly be improved, but in terms of their general play in Chorzow, Mancini's side played some attractive and entertaining football. Tweaks may be needed, but there is definitely life in them.
Szczesny's efforts go to waste
Were it not for the Juventus goalkeeper, Italy could have been comfortably ahead at half-time. Szczesny made a string of smart saves when those ahead of him failed to end the danger, but he was helpless for the winner.
Chiesa flatters to deceive
While Bernardeschi was hardly impressive, he was at least involved and an occasional threat – Federico Chiesa was not, and he barely made an impact in attack. A disappointing display.
Poland face Czech Republic in a friendly on November 15, before travelling to Portugal for their final League A Nations League game five days later. Italy's last match in the competition sees them host Fernando Santos' group leaders on November 17.
|Martinez laments loss of control by Belgium|
|Logano claims first NASCAR Cup championship|
|Luis Enrique delighted with attitude of Spain´s squad|
|Stevens tells Celtics to get ´tougher´|
|Griezmann: Being Messi´s lieutenant played a part in rejecting Barcelona|
|Curry proud of how Warriors handled Green-Durant incident|
|Courtois: Belgium thought Nations League job was done|
|Howell ends 11-year title drought to deny record-breaking Rodgers|
|Robben dismisses Bayern title talk|
|Huge blow for Redskins as QB Smith breaks tibia and fibula|
|Switzerland 5 Belgium 2: Seferovic treble crowns incredible comeback|
|Titans DC Pees taken to hospital during Colts game|
|Spain 1 Bosnia-Herzegovina 0: Debutant Mendez spares Morata´s blushes|
|Peterson goes sixth on rushing touchdowns list|
|Titans QB Mariota suffers elbow injury|
|Djokovic hails much-improved Zverev|
|Arnautovic refuses to discuss West Ham future after Austria win|
|Redskins QB Smith carted off after gruesome ankle injury|
|Jaguars shut down Jalen Ramsey trade rumours|
|Classy Zverev revels in victory, hails defeated Djokovic|
|Forget the Nations League was ever invented, jokes Northern Ireland boss O´Neill|
|Magnificent Zverev claims ATP Finals title|
|Mahrez double fires Algeria to 2019 AFCON|
|Mbappe hoping for French winner of Ballon d´Or|
|Northern Ireland 1 Austria 2: Last-gasp winner denies hosts maiden Nations League point|
|Teenager admits assaulting Wales great Thomas|
|Browns deny Condoleezza Rice is candidate for head coaching job|
|Koeman: Netherlands not favourites for Germany clash|
|Dalic ´not sad´ but blames fatigue for Croatia relegation|
|Proud Southgate hails England hero Kane as world´s best goalscorer|
|Last-gasp Exeter penalty try shatters Bristol|
|Mbappe dismisses talk of Cavani-Neymar rift|
|Keita will do ´great things´ for Liverpool – Mane|
|Mourinho needs time to fix Manchester United - Veron|
|Southgate sees progress as England reward loyal support|
|Miller hungry to ´knock out a Brit´ after Dinu demolition|
|Yasir, Hasan put Pakistan in control with five-wicket hauls|
|England´s resilience delights Kane as Three Lions secure Nations League Finals spot|
|Kane proves Nations League importance to England in Wembley decider|
|Muller, Hummels still important for Germany, says Low|
|Tevez in line for start in Copa Libertadores final second leg|
|England 2 Croatia 1: Kane able to secure Nations League Finals spot|
|It doesn´t sound real - Molinari stunned by 2018 exploits|
|Wales legend Thomas victim of alleged homophobic attack|
|Marquez crashes again as Dovizioso wins rain-interrupted Valencia GP|
|Warriors owner denies taking sides following Green-Durant spat|
|Alisson can become a global great, says Dida|
|The Sunday Seven - 7 Key Opta facts for NFL Week 11|
|Teen driver ´fine´ after sustaining spinal fracture in F3 crash|
|Willett wins first title since Masters triumph, Molinari tops Race to Dubai standings|
|Southgate overcomes ´stigma´ of being sacked to thrive with England|
|Anthony to Lakers ´not a question for myself´, says LeBron James|
|Warriors´ Stephen Curry staying ´cautious´ with injury recovery|
|Gunter hopes Bale can help family jet in to witness Wales record|
|Root pleased to practice what he preached|
|Tianjin Quanjian threaten action after Modeste returns to Cologne|
|I had to stop Kemba getting 70! – Jimmy Butler reflects on dramatic game-winner|
|Molinari wins Race to Dubai|
|Rooney: Some ex-players can´t come to terms with England doing well|
|In a spin: England´s win against Sri Lanka sets new record|
|Ogier wins sixth straight WRC title|
|Rogic, Kruse to miss Socceroos´ Lebanon friendly|
|Joerger has Kings´ ´full support´, says GM Divac|
|England seal series win over Sri Lanka|
|Butler´s heroics spoil Walker´s 60-point game as 76ers beat Hornets|
|He´s an honest guy – Djokovic defends Zverev after Finals controversy|
|Bonucci boos a ´mistake´ by fans, says Mancinima|
|Ronaldo still part of Portugal squad – Santos|
|Santos satisfied as Portugal reach Nations League Finals|
|Howell holds onto RSM Classic lead|